• New computational biology tools for the systematic analysis of the structure and expression of human genes
  • Nuovi strumenti di biologia computazionale per l'analisi sistematica della struttura e dell'espressione dei geni umani
  • Piovesan, Allison <1986>


  • BIO/13 Biologia applicata


  • From the late 1980s, the automation of sequencing techniques and the computer spread gave rise to a flourishing number of new molecular structures and sequences and to proliferation of new databases in which to store them. Here are presented three computational approaches able to analyse the massive amount of publicly avalilable data in order to answer to important biological questions. The first strategy studies the incorrect assignment of the first AUG codon in a messenger RNA (mRNA), due to the incomplete determination of its 5' end sequence. An extension of the mRNA 5' coding region was identified in 477 in human loci, out of all human known mRNAs analysed, using an automated expressed sequence tag (EST)-based approach. Proof-of-concept confirmation was obtained by in vitro cloning and sequencing for GNB2L1, QARS and TDP2 and the consequences for the functional studies are discussed. The second approach analyses the codon bias, the phenomenon in which distinct synonymous codons are used with different frequencies, and, following integration with a gene expression profile, estimates the total number of codons present across all the expressed mRNAs (named here "codonome value") in a given biological condition. Systematic analyses across different pathological and normal human tissues and multiple species shows a surprisingly tight correlation between the codon bias and the codonome bias. The third approach is useful to studies the expression of human autism spectrum disorder (ASD) implicated genes. ASD implicated genes sharing microRNA response elements (MREs) for the same microRNA are co-expressed in brain samples from healthy and ASD affected individuals. The different expression of a recently identified long non coding RNA which have four MREs for the same microRNA could disrupt the equilibrium in this network, but further analyses and experiments are needed.


  • 2014-04-08


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Piovesan, Allison (2014) Nuovi strumenti di biologia computazionale per l'analisi sistematica della struttura e dell'espressione dei geni umani, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze farmacologiche e tossicologiche, dello sviluppo e del movimento umano , 26 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6283.